Thursday, February 9, 2012

Giants: More SuperBowl miscellania

Check out the article by Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, who is an insane Boston sports fan. Read it here: SimmonsArticle.

If you don't think that the current era of football is dominated by great QBs, consider the following. The last 11 Super Bowls have been won by: Brady (3), Eli (2), Roethlisberger (2), Peyton (1), Brees (1), Rodgers (1), with one exception to the rule, Brad Johnson who won with Tampa Bay after the 2002 season. That's 10 of the 11 Super Bowls going to those QBs that are unarguably the top 5 or 6 in the game.

Steve Weatherford had a great season punting and holding for the Giants. His first punt which backed the Patriots up inside their own 10 gave the Giants the field position that led to the safety. He nailed another one at the 4, but Brady responded by taking the patriots 96 yards right at the end of the half for the score that put them up 10-9. Who will forget his hold on the low snap of the FG that won the 49ers conference championship game.

The final score and even the statistics don't really bear it out, but it just seemed to me that the Giants controlled the game and are a better team than the Patriots. From a visceral analysis, more of the Giants plays worked, more of their possessions were successful and they were more physical than the Patriots. On the pure statistical side, Giants time of possession for the game was 37 minutes but they gained only 50 more yards of offense than the Patriots. They had 4 offensive scoring drives compared to 3 by the Patriots, no turnovers to one for the Patriots. None of these statistical measures are overwhelming in favor of the Giants. I guess it keeps coming back to two plays, one by each QB with a chance to close out the game in their favor. Brady missed on his pass to Welker and Eli hit on his big pass play to Manningham.

One of the under the radar sequences of the game came right after the Blackburn INT. When Blackburn came down with the ball, Giants fans were cheering wildly, but this was not the game changing turnover that Giants fans thought/hoped it would be. It did prevent a Patriots score and stopped a drive, but it was not a field position shifter. The line of scrimmage was the Patriots 43 when Brady threw it and Blackburn was downed at the Giants 8. In terms of field position, it was equivalent to a 49 yard punt by the Patriots with no return. If the Giants went 3 and out there, they would have punted the ball and the Patriots would have had roughly the same field position and a chance to move right back in for a score. That's why the Giants possession starting from the 8, moving out to the New England 43 was a critical possession in the game. Even though the Giants did not score on that drive, when they punted, New England had the ball backed up on their own 8 instead of out near midfield. In fact the Patriots moved the ball on that drive before punting. But if they had started out near midfield instead of their own 8, they might have scored. I always preach that football is a field position game and this was one clear example of its importance.

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